Thinking beyond the pool walls boosts a club’s usefulness to members, both pre- and post-swim.
When it comes to renovating pool complexes, many club and resort properties have adopted a sink-or-swim mentality. Faced with the demands of an expanding membership and the need to enhance the time that all members of a family spend at the club, these facilities are now providing more than just a place to cool off. All-encompassing aquatic centers—complete with snack bars, lounge areas and other social amenities—are being created to help extend a pool’s usefulness and appeal far beyond just a quick dip.
Creating a ‘First-Class’ Family Destination
For the Spring Creek Golf and Country Club in Ripon, Calif., the decision to update its 50-year-old pool was long overdue. But even though the clubhouse had been refinanced and $500,000 in equity had been allotted for construction, some of the older members still needed to be convinced that the renovation made sense.
|Summing It Up
• Pools with adjoining facilities for socializing can help to extend members’ daily visits.
• Provide ample seating in lounge areas, as a place for members with young families to relax.
• Poolside proximity to snack bars generates more revenue for food-and-beverage departments.
“With the trend in country club membership being a focus on family facilities and activities, it was crucial for the future longevity of the club to provide a first-class family activity area,” explains General Manager/COO Steve Hupe.
Spring Creek’s membership ultimately voted to renovate the pool complex by rebuilding the pool and adding a snack bar, restrooms and bocce courts. The project kicked off last February and the new pool complex debuted with a grand-opening luau in early August, just 40 yards from the west entrance to the clubhouse.
Working within the original 66 x 25 footprint, the pool’s basic design essentially remained the same, but was raised approximately two feet to accommodate new pool decking. This area can now seat up to 80 people around its perimeter, making it ideal for hosting special events and parties poolside.
“There is even an area to host a small band for special events,” notes Hupe. He describes the pool itself as kid-friendly, with 4 feet at its deepest point and 3 feet at each end—which is also ideal for a game of pool volleyball for the adults.
Located just outside the pool’s electronic gate is The Turn, a snack bar that serves cold sandwiches, hot dogs and beverages to pool patrons and golfers.
“In the past, golfers and even swimmers would have to venture inside the clubhouse to get something to eat or drink, which was very inconvenient and tended to be slow to receive,” explains Hupe. “Being able to call directly to the snack bar from the eighth tee with an order to pick up at The Turn has eliminated those concerns.” In addition, a unisex bathroom is located on the pool side of the snack bar, with men’s and ladies’ restrooms on the opposite side for golfers.
This summer, Spring Creek’s members will be able to extend their experience further with the addition of two 70-foot-long, grass bocce courts with cement borders. Part of the overall pool complex project, the courts, which will be seeded this spring, were added in response to Spring Creek’s large number of bocce-playing members.
Thanks to these extensive renovations, Spring Creek has been able to boost its membership by 20% in the last year—with 75% of the new members being families with school-age children.
“Now the pool facility is commensurate with the new clubhouse and is a positive selling point, instead of a negative aspect of the club,” notes Hupe. The club has also seen a spike in food-and-beverage income from the snack bar, and is gearing up to host several member events with attendance ranging from 30 to 80 people.
“The area is also available to sell as catering space for outside groups wishing to hold a reception or small event poolside,” Hupe adds. And with the club’s main kitchen just 40 yards away, hot food can be catered for casual dining or small affairs.
Playful Pool Time
On the heels of a $2.5 million clubhouse and golf course renovation, The Country Club of St. Albans (Mo.) decided to refresh its existing aquatic center with an updated pool, new decking and furniture for its lounge area.
“We wanted to ensure that the overall experience was enhanced in all aspects of the clubhouse and amenities, including the aquatics complex,” says Ryan Schaben, Marketing and Membership Assistant.
To further heighten the member experience, here’s a snapshot of what some properties are doing poolside:
• At the Four Seasons Resort Maui (Hawaii), a self-serve sunscreen bar lets guests pump out mango-scented sunscreen in a variety of SPF levels. In addition, the resort’s Serenity Pool features an underwater music system for guests’ listening pleasure.
• At Excellence Playa Mujeres in Cancun, Mexico, guests can swim directly to the resort’s Miilé Spa, which has its own hydrotherapy pool.
• At South Seas Island Resort in Captiva, Fla., swimmers can go down H2Whoa! water slides, which shoot them out into a deep pool from an 18-foot tower.
• At The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz., a mineral pool enriched with salts from the Dead Sea provides health benefits for guests suffering from allergies and arthritis.
Source: The Seattle Times
The $450,000 aquatics complex project, which began in January 2015 and finished in May of that same year, has since established itself as a full-fledged entertaining mecca for members.
Undergoing a complete overhaul, the club’s Junior Olympic-sized (4,590-sq. ft.) pool was stripped to the core, sandblasted and re-plastered. New plumbing and filtration systems were added, along with a refurbished pump room and stand-alone heater. In addition, St. Albans’ kiddie pool now boasts multi-colored jets and fountains, to enhance the experience for younger members.
To bolster this space further, the 14,750-sq. ft. pool deck has been replaced with concrete decking featuring a textured, cool-deck surface. Brand-new water-resistant furniture, including tables, chairs, bar stools and lounge pieces, provides comfortable seating for guests, with ample space to move about freely. The current Tiki Bar was also treated to a makeover, with a new paint job in a taupe hue, and wrap-bar seating.
While the greatest challenge for St. Albans’ management involved determining what enhancements could be made within its limited budget, the choices have proven their value.
“[Our] Father’s Day BBQ, Fourth of July, Flick and Float and pool parties have all seen an increased number of members,” notes Schaben.
In addition to an uptick in member attendance at social gatherings, the club’s most notable change is its growing membership. “We were able to more than double our incoming annual social memberships over the last year since the renovation,” Schaben says.
Something for Everyone
At the Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort, the newly designed pool complex demonstrates careful attention to two different demographics.
“We designed two pools that we feel offer the best experience for everyone,” says Senior Vice President of Golf and Club Operations Jay Biggs. “One pool is specifically designed for families and one is designed for adults, with a quieter, more leisurely experience.”
The $4.2 million pool complex project was approved in September 2014 and completed the following July. At 5,300 sq. ft., Pinehurst’s family pool is generously sized to accommodate its zero-entry design and multiple splash zones. The nearly 30-foot-tall twisting slide with 360-degree turns is a big draw for confident swimmers, and recycles 800 gallons of water per minute. Meanwhile, the 3,600-sq. ft. adult pool is a traditional lap pool designed for ages 16 and up. Like the family pool, it features an expansive sitting area that can accommodate up to 36 guests.
Separating these two facilities is a 1,200-sq. ft., open-air bar and a 1,400-sq. ft. café that seats up to 48 people, providing plenty of room for dining al fresco. A large fire pit and cabanas outfitted with casual soft seating, chaise lounges and television sets offer more room to stretch out and unwind after a swim. For larger parties, the club’s event lawn serves as a perfect spot to entertain just off the main clubhouse.
“There are numerous pool-oriented events throughout the warmer seasons, but the area is also popular as a pre-function space for events held in and around the clubhouse,” notes Biggs.
Not only has the club’s event lawn played home to member birthday parties, it is also available for local patrons. “Pinehurst has been able to host Village of Pinehurst events that are open to the public, offering a unique setting for festive ‘Live After 5’ events to bring the community together,” Biggs adds.
On top of integrating two pools and ancillary amenities next to Pinehurst’s clubhouse, the pool complex design also implemented a new golf bag-drop area just off the first tee of its famous No. 2 golf course.
“A thoroughly vetted building project program, careful master planning, sensitive building design and orientation, and an inclusive team approach combined to successfully overcome these challenges,” explains Biggs of the undertaking.
As evidence of this sound decision-making, the club added 104 new memberships in 2015 and 57 new ones last year.
“The pool was a big step for Pinehurst to continue to enhance a lifestyle membership, rather than be predominantly golf-centric,” Biggs concludes.